MSc in Experimental Therapeutics | University of Oxford
Radcliffe Camera
The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
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MSc in Experimental Therapeutics

About the course

The Department of Oncology and the Department for Continuing Education offer the part-time MSc in Experimental Therapeutics, bringing together some of Oxford's leading clinicians and scientists to deliver an advanced modular programme designed for those in full-time employment.

Oxford has made a major contribution to modern molecular medicine and Oxford’s senior scientists have provided significant insights to our understanding of cancer, diabetes, and cardiac, haematological and infectious diseases. There is an opportunity to harness these advances and translate them into therapeutic benefits for patients.

The MSc in Experimental Therapeutics draws on the world-class research and teaching in experimental therapeutics at the University of Oxford and aims to provide you with the necessary training and practical experience to enable you to understand the principles that underpin clinical research, and to translate that understanding into good clinical and research practice.

The programme will appeal to health professionals from a variety of backgrounds, including:

  • qualified doctors 
  • specialist registrars in clinical pharmacology or in training for other medical sub-specialities 
  • clinical research fellows
  • pharmacists 
  • nurses 
  • graduates working in the pharmaceutical industry or in academic clinical trials

The MSc is a part-time course consisting of six modules and a research project and dissertation. The programme is normally completed in two to three years, but up to a maximum of four years may be taken. You will be a full member of the University of Oxford and matriculated as a member of a college.

To complete the MSc, you need to attend the six modules and complete an assessed written assignment for each module, and complete a dissertation on a topic chosen in consultation with a supervisor and the Course Director. The six modules are:

  • The Structure of Clinical Trials and Experimental Therapeutics 
  • Drug Development, Pharmacokinetics and Imaging 
  • Pharmacodynamics, Biomarkers and Personalised Therapy 
  • Adverse Drug Reactions, Drug Interactions, and Pharmacovigilance 
  • How to do Research on Therapeutic Interventions: Protocol Preparation 
  • Biological Therapeutics

The class-based taught modules consist of five days of intensive face-to-face lectures and tutorials, and are followed by a period for assignment work. Attendance at modules is a requirement for study. Some non-classroom activities are provided at laboratory facilities elsewhere in the University. A virtual learning environment (VLE) provides between-module support, and assignments are submitted online.

The modules include group work, discussions, guest lectures, and interaction and feedback with tutors and lecturers, as well as practical work that develops your knowledge and understanding of the subject.

The dissertation is founded on a research project that builds on material studied in the taught modules. The dissertation should not exceed 15,000 words. The project is normally supervised by an academic supervisor from the University of Oxford, and an employer-based mentor.

Graduate destinations

Graduates of the programme have held positions such as pharmacist, medical information executive, consultant, project manager, director, CEO, associate professor, clinical research coordinator, senior scientist, psychiatrist, registrar and doctoral research student.

Related courses

Changes to the course

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2017-18

Within equal opportunities principles and legislation, applications will be assessed in the light of an applicant’s ability to meet the following entry requirements:

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in a biological science or medical science subject, including pharmacy and nursing, or an equivalent level of demonstrable understanding and competence as a result of training.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA normally sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

Professional experience may be accepted as a substitute for a relevant undergraduate degree where an equivalent level of understanding and competence can be demonstrated.

Applicants should have some practical experience in research and/or development, usually via employment in a medical science-based company, research establishment or facility. 

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other appropriate indicators will include:

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview(s)

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.  

Telephone interviews will be held after each deadline and periodically until the course is closed to applications. They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers and will cover the applicant's application.

A telephone interview will be arranged for all of those who appear to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. All of an applicant’s previous experience will be taken into account. 

The purpose of the interview is to:

  • establish your level of interest, motivation and potential to benefit from the course of study;
  • clarify any uncertainties about compliance with requirements; and
  • ensure that you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.

Publications

Publications are not required.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

You must be able to demonstrate evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer’s commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.

You must also be able to demonstrate a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration).

2. English language requirement

Applicants whose first language is not English are usually required to provide evidence of proficiency in English at the higher level required by the University.

3. Availability of supervision, teaching, facilities and places

The following factors will govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • The ability of the Department of Oncology and/or the Department for Continuing Education to provide the appropriate supervision, research opportunities, teaching and facilities for your chosen area of work. 
  • Minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to Oxford's research and taught programmes.

The provision of supervision, where required, is subject to the following points:

  • The allocation of graduate supervision is the responsibility of the Department of Oncology and/or the Department for Continuing Education and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. 
  • A supervisor may be found outside the Department of Oncology and the Department for Continuing Education.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include sabbatical leave, maternity leave or change in employment.

4. Disability, health conditions and specific learning difficulties

Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background.

Decisions on admission are based solely on the individual academic merits of each candidate and the application of the entry requirements appropriate to the course.

Further information on how these matters are supported during the admissions process is available in our guidance for applicants with disabilities.

5. Assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgment of at least two members of academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and additionally must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent departmental persons or bodies).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

6. Other information

Whether you have yet secured funding is not taken into consideration in the decision to make an initial offer of a place, but please note that the initial offer of a place will not be confirmed until you have completed a Financial Declaration.

Successful applicants will normally provide evidence of all of the following:

  • a general interest in experimental therapeutics, personalised therapy, translational science and translational medicine, as evidenced by prior experience, interest and work
  • motivation and ability to complete the course  
  • a clear and well argued understanding of the benefits of the course to the candidate’s current employment and future prospects.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.

The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wifi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

The Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research. Opening up possibilities for peer group interaction, students for the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics are taught alongside those studying for other MSc and Post Graduate Diploma courses in the health sciences, as well as healthcare professionals undertaking the modules for continuing professional development.

The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment.

Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.

The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students.

Funding

There are over 1,000 full graduate scholarships available across the University, and these cover your course and college fees and provide a grant for living costs. If you apply by the relevant January deadline and fulfil the eligibility criteria you will be automatically considered. Over two thirds of Oxford scholarships require nothing more than the standard course application. Use the Fees, funding and scholarship search to find out which scholarships you are eligible for and if they require an additional application, full details of which are provided.

A range of scholarships are available to students on the programmes offered by the department, along with bursary funds to assist students on low incomes. Full information on these opportunities can be found on the departmental funding pages.

Costs

Modular course fees

The fees for this course are charged on a modular basis. You will pay an annual course fee and an additional fee for each module studied. A minimum of two annual course fees are payable for this course. If this course includes a dissertation, three module fees will be charged for the dissertation.

Fees for the 2017-18 academic year

Fee status

Annual course fee

Fee per module

Total estimated fees

Home/EU
(including Islands)
£1,435£1,795Please see the department’s website for further details
Overseas£5,910£1,795

The fees shown above include college fees. For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on likely increases to fees and charges.

For more information about tuition fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details on the impact of the result of the UK referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Additional information

This course has residential sessions in Oxford. You will need to meet your travel and accommodation costs in attending these sessions.  Further, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.

Living costs

In addition to your fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between £1,002 and £1,471 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our Living costs page. If you are studying part-time your living costs may vary depending on your personal circumstances but you must still ensure that you will have sufficient funding to meet these costs for the duration of your course.

Colleges

The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Experimental Therapeutics:

How to apply

You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.

The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose:
Around one page

You should submit a brief statement of purpose explaining your motivation for studying this course at Oxford. There is no specific word limit, and there are no restrictions on font size or line spacing, although the document should be clearly legible and written in English.

This will be assessed for your reasons for applying to this particular course; what relevant academic, research, or practical experience you have; and which areas of study within the subject especially interest you.

References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

Professional references are acceptable if these are relevant to the course.

Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for your chosen course. Referees should provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.